Posted: May 16, 2008 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Alright, enough of the wallowing.  This blog was getting a bit moody and negative, so I figured I’d post something good and happy!  It’s cross-posted from my Myspace 😉

So I was perusing a blog and stumbled upon this video.  Some of you (hi, Roomie) know of my complete obsession with music.  There’s a singer named Imogen Heap that I have kind of a love/hate relationship with.  Now, I know a few of you might be turned off by her whole voice/ computer overlay of voice thing (hi, Jacinda) but while watching this video of her performing, I realized that the way she puts it all together is a lot like writing.  So if you could just bear with me and watch the video, I promise I’ll pull it all together at the end? K? Press play now  and then start to read…


When I start out writing a WIP, it’s just me on an empty stage.  I have the tools there, all ready, but essentially it’s just me and my computer.  And then there is the tentative first lyric.  A single sentence that sparks a new life into creation.  A moment later, some detail will strike me…it could be a character trait (like in the Reaper story I’m working on, with Adam’s go-to-when-in-doubt sarcasm) or some slight quirk that brings their everyday life colliding with mine (Eden’s obsession with caramel coffee)   These are layered, woven together until they hum a pulse into what used to be just a few sketched out words.  I start to feel for these people who some part of me acknowledges live only in my head, but I wonder about what they’re doing in their off moments when I’m not peeking into their world. 

That moment when the voice gels and becomes it’s own soundtrack is the moment that the clapping starts, the conflict enters the picture.  In my story, it’s the introduction of Libby.  She is a girl after answers, forcing Eden into revealing things to the reader that Eden wouldn’t otherwise let you in on. 

And still the layers are there in the background, the dynamic of my group of friends, their loyalty to each other and Eden, their Valkyrie.  And the lyrics change, just as the song does.  The harmony falls away, still there though it’s only heard in snatches, and the story takes over.  Plot lines are threaded and connected until there is a chorus, a gasp for breath caught on tape, the brush of two hands together altering everything.  In my book, it’s the same.  There’s the moment where Eden, strong and uncrackable Eden is left in tatters over a broken necklace…a gift from a lost love she can’t quite shake.  And the comfort that Adam shows her, changing their dynamic and the chorus just enough to be noticed.  The clapping is where the lost love returns-Az, fallen angel with wings and all (not what you were expecting hopefully, and just like Imogen’s hands clapping, it’s something that starts out small and grows to become a full fledged part of the back story)

I just sit back and listen, typing what I’m told.  I become a vessel for them, just a doorway that lets them out.  I’m kind of sketchy in public during this phase, caught up in my head a bit too much (but usually still not enough).  I kind of hermit away and you can usually find me surrounded by empty frappachinos and coffee cups and wrapped in a blanket that I pull over my head to keep out the light from the TV that Roomie is watching next to me.  Candles have to be lit, the flames help me focus just as much as the blanket as blinders trick.  And the real world gets very far away…

And then suddenly, the floor drops out and there is only vocals.  Just me again, terrified by the story, by what I’ve written and how it just takes over everything.  Where I spend hours staring at the screen in a panic.  Will anyone actually want to read it?  Does it make any sense?  Is it all wrong?  Oh my god, it is isn’t it?? Should I toss it all?  Start again? Give up? 

But then the harmony comes back, the layers build and there’s another explosion of words, another round of conflict and I find myself smiling and back in the game.  I let myself fall a bit for Az, and how he genuinely cares for Eden.  I root for Adam, the underdog, not sure if his devotion will be enough.  And suddenly I can’t do anything but write, sure that I’ll finish it…hey, it might even be a series! (or an album in the case of a song)  This is kind of where I am right now.  The second (third?) happy honeymoon period.  I can’t wait to see where the story goes, where the song goes. 

This video just totally caught the whole experience for me. 

  1. laverday says:

    I saw this on the myspace bulletin GG. I love Fro Frou’s mix of Holding out for a hero but Just for now is awesome too. I just wish she’d figure out what to call herself.
    Glad to see you are trying to be more cheerful.

  2. sboman says:

    Writers who write with music as an inspiration really impress me. It’s awesome to have your creativity fed by another’s, even if it’s a different media.

    • leahclifford says:

      I definitely find inspiration in everything around me, from over heard conversations, to songs, to abandoned buildings and episodes of Jackass (long story lol). I had one of my beta readers for my last book write a poem about my story that really captured some of the feelings I was striving to get across. To me, nothing would is more amazing than having something I wrote inspire someone else to create. Everything is cyclical.

  3. atta girl.
    I just knew you would find a positive way to break through and inspire others at the same time. LOVE the music! and how you relate it to writing. So very true!

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